Ways To Navigate Seasonal Depression

by Nia Peake ‘23

It is that time of year again when the sky looks the same in the morning as it did when you went to bed, and the cool temperatures make you want to stay under the covers. This seasonal change triggers for some seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or what many know as seasonal depression.
Seasonal depression can take a significant toll on people’s day-to-day life. What might start as just the “winter blues” can suddenly become a constant feeling of sadness, excessive tiredness, and lack of socialization. These are just a few of the symptoms of SAD. While not everyone experiencing these symptoms will have SAD, it’s still important to recognize a change in behaviors in both yourself and those around you.

While there is no specific cause for seasonal depression, a disruption in our circadian rhythm correlates with seasonal depression. Circadian rhythm is the body’s 24-hour clock. The body knows that it’s time to wake up when there is daylight and when it’s night to go to sleep. This becomes thrown off when daylight savings hit and when days start getting shorter.

Changes in sleep patterns crucially affect teenagers as it makes it more difficult to stay motivated in school. While it might be challenging to stay in good spirits during this time of year, there are steps you can take to help with your seasonal depression:

Stay active

With the lower temperatures, most find themselves not spending much time outdoors, feeding into the sluggish feeling that comes with seasonal depression. Keeping your body moving is a powerful way to combat SAD as it sends out more endorphins and serotonin in your body. While finding activities to do outside is more difficult with the cooler temperatures, plenty of apps and videos are available for you to engage in fun physical activities that can be done indoors. Junior Noralexis Carrion finds that the gym helps her clear her mind. “Whenever I start to feel a shift in my mood, going to the gym is a great way for me to distract myself,” said Carrion.

Be social

As easy as it might be to resort to social isolation when you feel down, it’s important to continue interacting with friends and family. Even if you feel unmotivated to make plans, daily social times like the lunch period are excellent for connecting with friends and maybe even joining a club or two.

Prioritize your interests

During periods where you aren’t feeling your best, it’s good to continue activities and hobbies that make you happy. Since you can’t avoid schoolwork, finding time for your interests is a great way to keep your spirits high, which junior Bella Rodrigues finds helpful. “Taking time to myself and participating in my hobbies is how I cope whenever I feel sad,” said .

Reach out

As cliché as it might sound, reaching out to a trusted person can be very beneficial in finding some relief in any sadness you might feel. Utilizing your resources like the counseling office at school can be a great option when it comes to talking to a trusted, unbiased party to help you sort through your emotions as the seasons change.
Although this and the other tips aren’t a guaranteed fix to seasonal depression, they should help in easing waves of sadness that might be felt during these upcoming months where the sun doesn’t shine as bright.